by Zeena Urynbassarova
Stephanie and Graham ShepperdThe opening of the 1st personal exhibition of the Australian artist Stephanie Sheppard took place recently in a cozy low-key environment in the local Tengri-Art Gallery.
Stephanie Sheppard’s name is already familiar to the local connoisseurs of art. Last year she exhibited her works at the joint exhibition with the well-known artist from Atyrau Raphael Slekenov and the American artist Vickie Kriger in the Sariev Museum. The exhibition was called “Visions”.
At the current exhibition called, “Think clour” she presented 28 paintings. The topic in her paintings varies, but almost in all of them there are images of woman, birds, nature and harmony between the woman and the nature - the quality of traditional life.
The prevalence of the image of a woman in her works is understandable. After all, Stephanie is women's clothes designer by trade. Women in her paintings are different - young and old, elegantly dressed in fashionable clothes and in plain sportswear during the minutes of their rest. But all of them are full of tenderness and charm.
When you think about the meaning of birds’ images in her works, you start to realize that birds like the embodiment of the artist’s soul, soar high above the Earth.
At the opening of the exhibitionThe composition in her paintings are very laconic, but original at the same time, and therefore, they are light and airy.
Stephanie taught fashion design for 20 years at the Australian Art College. But she started to paint in oil only 6-7 years ago. During this time she managed to achieve very good results. Half a year ago she decided to take professional art training and entered the London Studio of Representative Art.
She came to Atyrau with her husband Graham who works at TCO. She decided to devote her free time to art. “I am very grateful to my husband who created for me the conditions for creativity and gave me tranquility. Each of my paintings is a whole story. For example, “Seven Sunflowers” and “Seeking for Attention” were influenced by the situations that took place in my family. “Spectator” and “Momentary Distraction” were my memories of Paris, though, at first sight, there is nothing that would remind you of Paris. My paintings are my contemplations. I hope that the audience will see in them what I wanted to express.
One day my husband asked me: “What makes a good painting?” In my opinion, as long as a painting does not leave the viewer indifferent, and it doesn’t matter what emotions it evokes, positive or negative, then the painting is successful. The important thing is that people react to it and still think about it when they go away”, says Stephanie.
The local artist and art expert Moukhit Kasimov expressed his high appreciation of Stephanie's works. He said that though Stephanie had just begun her artistic career, her academic works were of a high professional standard. And her paintings influenced by the African themes remind him the paintings of Gauguin.
A local artist Raphael Slekenov, the founder of Tengri-Art gallery, noted purity and sincerity in her paintings. Raphael said that any budding artist needs support and, therefore, Tengri-Art Gallery kindly provided her a platform for the exhibition.
A small, but picturesque painting “Atyrau House Window” shows a fragment of a wooden “izba” (log hut) with blue windows against a winter tree. Into this small detail there was put so much heart and soul. Stephanie notices and sees beauty in usual things of our everyday life. This shows her ability and talent of an artist.
She says that she likes ancient log huts located in the old part of our town. “Carved windows, graceful edges, skillful woodwork - these lodges are very beautiful,”- says Stephanie. “It would be good if they are preserved and, therefore, I try to keep their images in my paintings.”
In her painting “Walk in the Park” you can notice the influence of her 20 years of experience in fashion designing. In this work realistically painted woman’s hands and face are well combined with a flat and schematically painted dress.
Her still life “Bouquet” is like an artistic attemtp before going to more complex images, such as people and nature.
She is good at painting portraits. The portraits exhibited at the exhibition are done well and with great affection towards her characters.
Stephanie expressed her gratitude to her friends Lise and Margaret, who agreed to spend many hours posing in motionless state while Stephanie painted them from life.
In sumary, you can feel that she puts a bit of her heart into every painting, since they don't leave you untouched. Also, you can feel the light yet strong energy that her paintings radiate and that energy involuntarily is transferred to viewers.
It’s not for the first time that we write about a person who follows his/her passion at an age when they are not so young. Stephanie is 55 years old. She once again proves that it is never too late to start realizing your cherished dream.
Stephanie Sheppard's personal exhibition will run in Tengri-Art Gallery until the middle of October.